Constitution

Constitution of the Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society

Purpose

  1. The name of the society is the DALHOUSIE GAZETTE PUBLISHING SOCIETY.
  2. The objectives of the society are:
    1. To publish a student-run newspaper to report fairly and objectively on issues of importance and interest to students of Dalhousie, as well as the rest of the Halifax and Atlantic Canadian university community and community at large.
    2. To provide an open forum for free expression of ideas and opinion, in order to stimulate meaningful debate.
    3. To provide mentorship and training to student writers and journalists, through a skilled staff of university students and young professionals.
  3. The society’s activities must not infringe upon federal, provincial, municipal laws or University regulations.
  4. The society’s activities must not infringe upon the Bylaws and Policies of the Union.

Definitions

  1. In these bylaws, unless there be inconsistent therewith:
    1. “society” means The Dalhousie Gazette Publishing Society;
    2. “council” means the Council of the Dalhousie Student Union;
    3. “Dalhousie” means Dalhousie University;
    4. “student union” means the Dalhousie Student Union;
    5. “publishing year” shall mean the period from the first week of September to the last week of April. Issues may be published at any time throughout this publishing year, or outside of it at the discretion of the staff;
    6. “section editor” means the head editor of a given content section of The Dalhousie Gazette. Sections are determined by the Society from time to time;
    7. “manager” means a member of the Gazette’s skilled production staff hired by the hiring committee, subject to the approval of the Publishing Board;
    8. “Executive” means the group of people referred to as the Publishing Board or Hiring Committee. This group will exercise executive authority over the Society.
      1. The Chair of the publishing board shall act as President of the Society.
      2. A treasurer will be nominated from amongst the Publishing Board.
      3. A secretary will be nominated from amongst the Publishing Board.
      4. At least one executive member must be a Dalhousie student and a signing authority.
      5. Each member can only hold one executive position.
    9. “conflict of interest” is when a member of the society is involved holds a material interest in the outcome of a decision before the society.
    10. “Publishing Board” means the Publishing Board of the Dalhousie Gazette Publication Society and is the highest authority in the Society.
    11. “newspaper” means The Dalhousie Gazette;
    12. “staff” means the editors and staff contributors.
    13. “editor” means and indicates a section editor or an assistant editor.

Membership

  1. All Dalhousie students who pay a levy towards The Dalhousie Gazette are members of the society, and are able to vote in-person at all general meetings of the society by issuance of a ballot provided by the society.
    1. Any other person holding office as an editor or manager of the society will hold status as an honourary member of the society, but will not be able to vote at general meetings of the society.
    2. All members of the society are eligible to contribute articles, photos or other content for consideration by the staff of the newspaper. Additionally, the staff may occasionally consider worthy articles from the larger community for publication, provided they are relevant to the journalistic goals of the newspaper, as set out in section two of this document.
    3. All professional managers and editors of the newspaper will be hired by the Hiring Committee.
    4. Any member of the society may apply for a manager position, however, the Hiring Committee may hire the strongest managerial candidates, regardless of membership in the society.
    5. Any member who contributes five articles, photos, comics, or creative submissions in any publishing year, or who has contributed ten articles, photos, comics, or creative submissions in total shall be considered staff contributors and will be identified as such in their bylines, unless they also hold a higher position (such as a columnist or beat reporter, as decided by the Section Editors) within the paper.
    6. Any member of the Society may apply for consideration for any Section Editor position, for selection via the Hiring Committee, providing that staff contributor will be a member of the Dalhousie Student Union or a King’s Students’ Union member during the publication term when they will serve as an editor.
    7. No editor-in-chief may hold a position on the Dalhousie Student Union council, the Dalhousie Board of Governors, or the Dalhousie Senate during the publication term for which they are editor-in-chief.
    8. In the event that vacant positions cannot be filled the Hiring Committee will determine the most suitable candidate, in accordance with section 17 of this document.
    9. Membership Membership will not be limited by age, gender, race or religion.

Finances

  1. The fiscal year of the Society shall be the period from April 1 to March 31 of the following calendar year.
  2. The Society must be audited by the Vice-President (Finance) of the Dalhousie Student Union each academic year before receiving its levy.
  3. There will be three (3) signing officers. These officers will be the Editor-in-chief, the Treasurer, and the Business Manager.
    1. Each cheque issued by the society must be signed by at least two signing officers.
    2. A signing officer may not sign a cheque made out in their name.
  4. The budget must be approved by the Publishing Board each fiscal year and may be amended from time to time. Any non-budgeted items (i.e. major purchases) must be approved by the Publishing Board as they arise.
  5. Salaries and honoraria will be determined by the Publishing Board based on consultation between the outgoing Editor-in-Chief and the Business Manager at the beginning of the fiscal year. The Business Manager will submit a budget to the Publishing Board for approval within the first month of every semester. At the end of each semester, the Business Manager will submit an overview of financial transactions to the Publishing Board for their review.

Meetings

  1. The Annual General Meeting of the society shall be held each year before the second week of March.
  2. A special general meeting of the society may be called by the Editor-in-Chief or the Chair of the Publishing Board at any time and must be called if requested in writing by at least 50 members of the society.
  3. At least one week’s notice of a general meeting, specifying the place, day and hour of the meeting and, in the case of special business, the nature of such business, shall be given to members by an advertisement in the newspaper.
  4. The date, time and place of the annual general meeting will be advertised at least two weeks in advance.
  5. The paper must also advertise all general meetings on the newspaper’s Facebook (facebook.com/dalgazette) and Twitter (twitter.com/dalgazette) accounts. A 48-hour reminder must also be issued on the front page of dalgazette.com and on the newspaper’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  6. At each annual general meeting of the society, the following items of business shall be dealt with:
    1. minutes of the preceding meeting; consideration of the financial statements, including balance sheet and operating statement and the report of the auditors thereon;
    2. election of members of the Publishing Board as per section 28 of this constitution
    3. annual report of the editor-in-chief, which can be submitted to all members of the society electronically or delivered orally
  7. The membership at a general meeting may:
    1. amend the constitution in accordance with section 22 of this document;
    2. conduct such other business of the society as the membership requires subject only to the provisions for impeachment as specified herein. All other business requires a majority vote to be formally ratified and adopted by the Society.
  8. No business shall be transacted at any general meeting (annual or special, regardless of its reason for being convened) of the society unless a quorum consisting of 25 members of the society is present at the commencement of such business.
  9. If within forty-five minutes after the time appointed for a meeting a quorum of members is not present, the meeting shall be dissolved.
  10. General membership will be given the opportunity to approve society financial statements/budget and goals/objectives for the coming year.

Hiring

  1. A Hiring Committee shall be formed annually to fairly hire the Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager, the section editors, and the professional managers.
    1. The outgoing/current Editor-in-chief, who shall sit as a non-voting member.
    2. The Chair of the Publishing Board.
    3. The Dalhousie Faculty member on the Publishing Board, who will sit as a non-voting member.
    4. Two Dalhousie Dalhousie student members from the Publishing Board that are selected by the Publishing Board;
    5. A member-at-large that is elected at the annual general meeting.
      1. Any member of the Society present at the meeting is eligible to submit their name for nomination.
  2. The Hiring Committee quorum will be three with at least 2 voting members.
  3. All Hiring Committee members who have a real or perceived conflict of interest must raise this with the executive before the committee meets and must remove themselves from the voting process for the position in question.
  4. Members at a general meeting may call on any member of the hiring committee to answer questions of conflict of interest. Should the answer be unsatisfactory, the member may make a motion for that hiring committee member to be replaced. This motion must have a seconder and must be approved via a two-thirds vote.
  5. In the event that the hiring committee cannot make a unanimous decision, then the candidate with the highest number of votes is selected.
  6. The establishment and change of Hiring Policy are within the authority of the Publishing Board and can be amended by a majority vote.

The Publishing Board

  1. There shall be a Publishing Board consisting of the following directors:
    1. Four Dalhousie students elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Society;
    2. A representative of the staff, elected by the editors by a majority vote. This representative must be a Dalhousie Student;
    3. A Dalhousie or King’s faculty member elected buy the editors through a majority vote. This director will be a member either a vote;
    4. The Editor-in-chief. This director will be a member without a vote;
    5. A chair, the elected at a General Meeting of the Society. The Chair will not have a vote, except in the event of a tie. The chair must be a Dalhousie student.
  2. Four Dalhousie student representatives shall be elected to the Publishing Board by a plurality vote of the members of the Society at the Annual General Meeting each year before the second week of March.
    1. Any member of the Society may submit their name for nomination.
    2. Dalhousie student representatives must be full-time or part-time Dalhousie students, and members of the Dalhousie Student Union, for the duration of their term on the Publishing Board.
    3. The election shall be overseen be a member not running for an elected position or member of staff.
    4. The four elected Dalhousie student representatives shall not hold a paid position at the Gazette for the duration of their term on the Publishing Board, however:
      1. They are permitted but not required to contribute to the paper;
      2. They may resign before applying for a paid position.
  3. The Publishing Board shall meet at least three times during each the fall and winter terms, and as necessary during the summer term. An emergency meeting of the Publishing Board may be convened by the chair with appropriate notice.
  4. A meeting of the Publishing Board may be held at the close of any annual or special general meeting of the Society without notice. Notice of all other meetings, specifying the time and place, shall be emailed by the chair to each member at least one (1) week before the meeting is to take place. Publishing Board Members are obligated to provide a phone number and/or email address where they can be contacted.
  5. All Publishing Board meetings shall be open to members of the Society and the general public, unless a motion to go in camera is approved via the procedures outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order.
  6. Board members will be prohibited from failing to attend two consecutive meetings without a reasonable excuse, on penalty of dismissal from the board.
  7. The Publishing Board shall have responsibility for overseeing and ensuring the general administration of the Society, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, shall:
    1. ensure that the Society’s finances are responsibly administered;
    2. ensure the Society fulfills its obligations as stated in the contract between the Society and the Student Union;
    3. investigate any formal charge of libel subject to litigation;
    4. investigate and mediate formal complaints;
    5. be responsible for dismissing the Editor-in-Chief, section editors, and professional managers on grounds of incompetence or dereliction of duty;
  8. Quorum for meetings of the Publishing Board shall be a majority of the total board, including at least three voting members.
  9. If Publishing Board members find themselves in a conflict of interest, they must disclose it to the rest of the board and excuse themselves from voting.
  10. No Publishing Board Director may hold any other paid position in the newspaper.

Managers

  1. The Publishing Board shall provide each manager with a job description and contract outlining all society policies and expectations with regards to performance, discipline and compensation, as well as any other contractual concerns of the parties. The original, signed copy of this document shall be retained by the society, in the care of the editor-in-chief. A copy may be given to the manager in question.
  2. The Business Manager must be hired by the committee following the processes set out in section 22 of this document.
  3. The Business Manager shall be responsible for;
    1. Serving under the treasurer of the society;
    2. Consulting with the Publishing Board at the beginning of the fiscal year on the budget, including salaries and honouraria;
    3. Being available for consultation to the Publishing Board throughout the fiscal year for matters pertaining to the budget;
    4. Keeping records of all spending within the Society in accordance with DSU regulations;
    5. Acting as a signing officer of the Society;
    6. Managing the Society bank account;
    7. Managing applications for Society Grants to the DSU, and aiding members in applying for individual Member Grants through the DSU;
    8. Reading and understanding the DSU Grants Policy;
    9. Having the budget approved by the Publishing Board.

Sections

  1. The paper shall have News, Opinions, Arts and Sports sections.
  2. The executive of the paper may agree to include other sections in the paper.
    1. The Editor-in-chief may decide to hire an editor for any sections in the paper not listed in item 23 of this document. New editors must be hired according to the processes described in section 17 of this document.
  3. The Publishing Board shall provide each editor with a contract outlining all expectations of the position with regards to performance, discipline and compensation, as well as any other contractual concerns of the parties. The original, signed copy of this document shall be retained by the society, in the care of the editor-in-chief. A copy may be given to the editor in question.
    1. Editors shall be signed to contracts for the during of the publication year.
  4. Section Editors shall be responsible for:
    1. Providing content for their section of the Dalhousie Gazette;
    2. Submitting content to the Editor-in-chief via posting on an agreed file sharing system of choice no later than Thursday at 5p.m.
    3. Coordinating and mentoring a group of contributors to whatever level they see fit, in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief;
    4. Editing their section’s content for matters of correctness, ethics, legality and in accordance with the Gazette Style Guide and the Canadian Press Style Guide;
    5. Upon finding any matter of ethical concern, or upon finding any content which does not operate according to best practices (be it in poor taste, libellous, offensive, racist, discriminatory or for any other reason), alert the Editor-in-Chief and act as a liaison between the Editor-in-Chief, Copy Editor and any given contributor;
    6. Before Monday at 5:30 p.m. of a production week, forward a list of necessary corrections from previous issue(s) to the Copy Editor, in written form and in accordance with Gazette correction style
  5. Other editor positions may be hired editor positions may be hired, including Copy Editor and Managing Editor. These editors will have editorial responsibilities delegated to them by the editor-in-chief.
  6. In addition to the responsibilities held with editors, the editor-in-chief shall be responsible for:
    1. Maintaining professional relations within the staff;
    2. Maintaining amicable relations with other societies within the union;
    3. The content, layout, training of staff and general management of the newspaper;
    4. Calling regular staff meetings which will decide editorial positions, content and other matters concerning the newspaper, as well as chairing these meetings in a fair and democratic fashion;
    5. Providing direction and guidance to the managers, and communicating expectations, changes and decisions to them in a clear and prompt manner;
    6. Presenting a written annual report to the Annual General Meeting of the society;
    7. Keeping the active profiles of the society up to date;
    8. Penalizing or recommending dismissal to the Publishing Board of  editors and managers provided they violate the responsibilities set out annually in the contracts, and/or the ethics code and disciplinary policies set out and made available online;
    9. Delegating all tasks within the Society so that duties are performed in a timely and effective manner;
    10. Providing constructive and helpful mentorship to all editors and contributors should it be needed;
    11. Identifying key coverage areas and opportunities for the newspaper, and planning said coverage across sections when necessary;
    12. Acting to resolve internal conflicts of the newspaper or the society, and referring these to Dalhousie Student Union counselling when necessary, in accordance with the discipline policy;
    13. Acting as a public head of the society for political and recruitment efforts; championing the reputation and role of the Gazette within the Dalhousie and Halifax communities.

Impeachment

  1. A Publishing Board Directors and Chair may be impeached for consistently or seriously failing to fulfill any of the duties outlined in section 22 of this document, as well as for any serious violation of the discipline policy or the ethics code.
  2. Any Publishing Board Director or the Chair may be impeached if a petition signed by no less than 125 registered members of the Dalhousie Student Union is submitted to any member of the Publishing Board. In this event, the Publishing Board will call a special general meeting with that must take place no less than one week and no more than two weeks after receiving the petition. The meeting must be advertised on the Society website as per the procedures outlined in these bylaws. Should two-thirds of present Dalhousie Student Union members present at the general meeting uphold the petition, the Publishing Board Director(s) and/or Chair who are the subject of the petition shall be impeached.
    1. Within four weeks of the impeachment of any Publishing Board Director(s), the editor-in-chief must hold an AGM advertised as per the bylaws outlined in this constitution. A vote must be held at this AGM to re-elect the vacant Director position.
  3. Executive up for impeachment must be notified of the reasons for impeachment at least 1 week before a motion to impeach is discussed by the society.
  4. Motion to impeach must be held at a general meeting open to all members.
  5. Member up for impeachment will be given the opportunity to speak at the meeting before the motion is voted on.

Amendments to the Constitution

  1. Amendments to the constitution must be proposed in writing to the Publishing Board and the Chair of the Publishing Board, at least three weeks prior to any general meeting.
    1. The amendment will then be put before the membership annual general meeting and must be approved by a two-thirds vote.
    2. At any general meeting of the society a motion for emergency amendment to the constitution may be made, in writing, to the chair of the general meeting and the editor-in-chief at any time is such amendments are immediately necessary for the continued functioning. Each motion for emergency amendment may not affect more than five specific clauses of the constitution.
    3. The approval of provisional changes may be required from time to time. All provisional changes will be proposed in writing to the Publishing Board. If it is suggested that these changes become official amendments to the Constitution, the changes will then be put before the membership at the annual general meeting and must be approved by a two-thirds vote.